Now, I had expected PoutineFest to be an annual event, imagine my excitement when I found out there was another one this year?! Haha, well, my first thought was I must have went to a knockoff poutine festival last week, because the one at City Hall seemed smaller, more compact event space and appeared to have fewer vendors (and my impression of food festivals in Ottawa mostly took place on Sparks Street). However, in reality both PoutineFests have 17 poutiners. The City Hall PoutineFest actually had more non-poutine food vendors (ie. ice cream, churros). The City Hall PoutineFest only seemed to be smaller because everyone was squeezed into a circle; whereas Sparks Street PoutineFest, all poutiners were able to spread out over the span of Sparks Street.
The weather god clearly favoured the City Hall PoutineFest over Sparks Street. We went on Sunday. It was cloudy with a cold breeze and some tinkling here and there. It was supposed to be spring, except weather forecast said otherwise with a 4 degrees outlook, so I pulled out my winter jacket (because I’d rather be on the warmer side) and of course I looked overdressed compared to everybody else?. But that’s not what this post is about. Another side note, we went around 11 am which was when the festival starts, so there wasn’t much crowd to swim through or long waits.
This time, we tried 3 different poutines. And boy, they were ALL exceptionally delicious! I was so happy that I followed through with attending the Sparks Street PoutineFest despite the unpleasant weather forecast, it was absolutely worth it!
After prowling up and down the Sparks Street three times, my boyfriend made the first move. He picked out the kicked up mac poutine by Big D’s, which was topped with elbow macaroni, jalapeno aged cheddar cheese, and double smoked bacon. The piping hot gravy melted the shredded cheddar cheese and cheese curds creating that stringiness with every forkful. The gravy was delectable. It had certainly hit that bliss point and made it hard to stop. The fries weren’t crispy but that didn’t bother me because they were soaked in that perfect gravy. The al dente macaroni, bacon pieces, shredded cheese/cheese curds, gravy and the fries orchestrated a mouthwatering masterpiece.
I had chosen the pulled pork poutine by Le Smokin BBQ with pulled pork and BBQ sauce generously doused over it. My rationale was “they’re from Montréal, so they must know how to make an awesome poutine”. Indeed, they did! Their fries were thin and crispy, just the way I like them! Their cheese curds were massive, compared to others. The BBQ sauce was heavenly, a flawless combo of sweet and tanginess, especially when combined with the juicy tender pulled pork. They had a different gravy where the fries lay in under all those layers of sauce and meat. It tasted like pork gravy? Rich with bone essence. I enjoyed this wholesome poutine down to the last smidgen of sauce.?
By this time, my stomach was about 90% filled. However, to ensure I don’t have the same regret as the last PoutineFest, I had to try the pad thai poutine from Green Papaya. I sensibly ordered a small. Smart, eh? The poutine was covered with pad thai chicken, raw veggies (consisting of bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, carrots, and lettuce), and garnished with lime wedges, and chopped peanuts, spring onions, and cilantro. Unquestionably, this was the healthiest looking poutine. The veggies were a refreshing touch, fooled me into thinking I was eating a salad for a second. The fries and cheese curds were average. The chicken was tasty though. The gravy had a mix of pad thai sauce in it, not as meaty as the others but still worked with the fries. I think the novelty is definitely worth a try as it is an interesting play on a classic Canadian dish. I am sure poutine aside, they probably make amazing pad thai. However, I think I still prefer the other heartier and artery-clogging variations of poutines?.
Needless to say, I was sated in the end. Actually, more like engorged, but totally worth it?.